Six arrested in ISIL-related inquiry
The Minnesota arrests came as authorities tracked youths who have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight
Six people were arrested Sunday in connection with an investigation in Minnesota, where authorities have been tracking youths who have traveled or tried to travel to Syria to fight with armed groups, including Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), authorities said.
A spokesman for the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office said the arrests were made in Minneapolis and San Diego but there is no threat to public safety. Spokesman Ben Petok did not give details about the charges. He said more information would be released Monday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI planned a news conference Monday to announce details.
Kyle Loven, spokesman for the Minneapolis office of the FBI, said six people were arrested Sunday but gave no further details. An FBI spokesman in San Diego referred questions to Loven.
Omar Jamal, a Somali activist in Minneapolis, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that “The community is in a state of confusion. … This is a very serious issue. We as a community are concerned about losing our kids to [ISIL].”
Authorities say a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight with armed groups within the last year. At least one Minnesotan has died while fighting for ISIL, and residents of other states have been involved in incidents related to ISIL and other armed groups.
Since 2007, more than 22 young Somali men have also traveled from Minnesota to Somalia to join the terrorist group Al-Shabab.
Four Minnesotans have already been charged in connection with supporting armed groups in Syria, including the Islamic State group.
One man, 19-year-old Hamza Ahmed, had been stopped at a New York City airport in November as he and three others were attempting to travel to Syria. Ahmed has been indicted on charges of lying to the FBI, conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group, and attempting to provide material support. He has pleaded not guilty.
But there have been no public charges filed against his three companions, and little information had been released about them. An FBI affidavit said they are all between the ages of 19 and 20 and live in the Minneapolis area.